The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that provides easy access to a vast body of information. No one knows exactly how many computers are connected to the Internet, and no one is in charge of the Internet. There are organizations that have set standards for the Internet, but there is no governing body in control.
In the mid 1960's, the Internet was devised to link computers together throughout the country so they could share information. In the beginning, only government "think tanks" and a few universities were linked as part of a military communications system operated by the Department of Defense. Gradually, the Internet became a communications tool for scientists and scholars under the National Science Foundation.
The Internet consists of several protocols -- electronic mail & chat, file transfer, telnet, Usenet & newsgroups, and the HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). HTTP is the protocol of the World Wide Web. A more extensive discussion about the different protocols of the Internet can be found at "Understanding the World Wide Web" at the University of Albany Libraries' Internet Tutorials (http://library.albany.edu/internet/www.html).
The World Wide Web
So although the Internet and the World Wide Web are often used interchangeably, the World Wide Web, also known as the WWW and the Web, is really only a part of the Internet. It is the most popular part of the Internet because it allows for multimedia content (colors, pictures, movies, sounds, etc.) through an easy-to-use interface.
The World Wide Web was developed in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee of the European Particle Physics Lab (CERN) to facilitate communications among its members using networked hypertext. It quickly expanded to other users because it was convenient and user-friendly.
The World Wide Web does not require its users to know Internet protocols. The user begins with an opening screen or home page that is a gateway to other related WWW pages through its system of hyperlinks.
This instructional website focuses on using the
World Wide Web since it is the largest and fastest-growing component of
the Internet. The NEC Research Institute estimates that there are roughly
1,000,000,000 web pages on the WWW, and the number is growing every day.